Around Campus

An MIT education should prepare students for life through an integrated educational program composed of academics, research, and community. Academics establish a place for rigorous study of the fundamentals of science, engineering, social science, and the humanities, as well as a format for developing problem-solving skills, familiarity with quantitative and qualitative analysis, historical and literary insight, and an understanding of the scientific method. Participation in research provides a foundation for professional competence and opportunities for learning-by-doing. Community interaction enables students to become familiar with their responsibilities, hone their leadership and communication skills, and gain self-mastery. Although each of the three components forms a distinct area of a student’s education, the contribution of each reinforces and adds to that of the others.

To enable MIT’s mission of advancing knowledge and educating students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world, we continuously work to improve our residential campus. Strengthening campus community and supporting innovation are principles that guide our campus planning. Over the past decade, the Institute has added one million square feet of new facilities to the campus—smart residence halls and common spaces to inspire innovative collaborations, cutting-edge laboratories to support the emergence of new technologies, and visionary architecture to reinforce the intensity, curiosity, and excitement that are a defining value of the Institute, and of an MIT education.

To envision how our campus and surroundings could evolve to meet future academic and research needs, we developed MIT 2030: a flexible framework that helps the Institute make thoughtful, well-informed choices about its physical development and renewal in support of its mission. Renewal and stewardship are critical elements of MIT’s plans for the future. To ensure that its buildings are able to support the educational, research, and student life activities essential to our mission, the Institute continues to pursue programs of renovation, renewal, and comprehensive care.

These efforts reflect the Institute’s commitment to removing boundaries between life and learning, inspiring freedom of imagination, and reinventing the substance of education in the 21st century.

Students and Faculty

MIT enrolled 11,331 students in 2015–2016, including 4,527 undergraduates and 6,804 graduate students. These MIT students came from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, three territories, and 120 foreign countries. The broad international student representation of 3,289 students made up 10 percent of the undergraduate and over 42 percent of the graduate population.

In the same year, there were 1,036 faculty members in MIT's professorial ranks, including 230 women. The total teaching staff numbered 1,863. Most faculty members at MIT teach both undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduates frequently register for graduate classes, and many undergraduates and graduate students participate, often together, in advanced research.

The confluence of ages, disciplines, and nationalities so characteristic of MIT brings together students and teachers, biologists and architects, humanists and engineers, young and old, and deeply influences the life and experience of every member of the academic community. The result is an academic environment with a strong focus on excellence and a diverse range of interests.

The Campus

In 1916, MIT moved from its Boston location to Cambridge; the current campus now encompasses 168 acres that extend more than a mile along the Cambridge side of the Charles River Basin. The heart of the campus is the initial group of interconnecting buildings, designed by architect W. Welles Bosworth (Class of 1889) to facilitate interaction and communication among MIT’s schools and departments.

The architecture on campus now showcases a range of styles, from neoclassical through modernist, brutalist, and deconstructivist. Among the remarkable landmarks on campus are buildings designed by leading architects such as Alvar Aalto, Frank Gehry, Steven Holl, I. M. Pei ’40, and Eero Saarinen. Many of the buildings are compelling inside as well, housing state-of-the-art facilities designed to support MIT’s ongoing research efforts in multiple disciplines. These facilities include wind tunnels, linear accelerators, robot test labs, and—soon to be in construction—a 200,000-square-foot nanotechnology and advanced imaging center.

For students, the campus has 18 residence halls, each with its own distinctive personality and community. The campus also offers on-site bicycle benefits for students and staff, including fix-it stations, secure bicycle cages, and a bike-share program. As a whole, the campus is urban and walkable, with more than 20 gardens and greenspace areas and more than 100 public works of art. At its edges, the campus merges with various Cambridge neighborhoods, including Kendall Square—where the close association of industry and research expertise has made this area the most innovative square mile on the planet.

As the campus continues to develop and improve, MIT is focused on enhancing its sustainability and conservation features. To date, seven buildings have achieved LEED-Gold Certification, including Fariborz Maseeh Hall (W1), Building E62 (home of MIT Sloan), and the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research (76). For existing buildings, MIT’s proactive Capital Renewal program is engaged in continuous renewal and renovation projects that ensure the buildings are able to support the community’s educational, research, and student life activities.

The Boston and Cambridge Environment

MIT is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on the north bank of the Charles River, facing the city of Boston. With over 105,000 people located within a 6.5 square mile area, Cambridge is a unique community with a strong mix of cultural, demographic, and social diversity; intellectual vitality; and technological innovation. The city's diversity is reflected in its international community, with almost 29 percent of residents being foreign born. Well known as the residence of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge is home to many students and professionals. About 44 percent of its residents are college and graduate students.

The city's largest employment sectors are higher education, government, biotechnology, and healthcare. Cambridge is home to more than 300 life-science and technology-related companies. The Kendall Square neighborhood is a renowned hub of innovation of entrepreneurship.

Boston's Museum of Science and Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the New England Conservatory of Music, Symphony Hall, the New England Aquarium, and the Boston Public Library, as well as Fenway Park and TD Garden for professional baseball, basketball, hockey, and concerts are all within a two-mile radius of the MIT campus. Students can also travel easily to Boston's theater district, where Broadway plays are previewed and local productions are staged.

Among the cultural organizations enriching life in the area are the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, the Boston Ballet Company, the Opera Company of Boston, the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston University's Huntington Theatre Company, the Loeb Drama Center, and the American Repertory Theatre.

MIT is one of more than 50 schools located in the Boston area, including Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Harvard University, Lesley University, Northeastern University, Simmons College, Tufts University, Wellesley College, and many specialized professional art and music schools. The concentration of academic, cultural, and intellectual activity in this area is one of the most significant in the country.

An hour or two away from MIT by car are the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire, the ocean beaches of Cape Cod, the lakes and rivers of Maine, the small clusters of fishing towns along the New England coast, and many places of historical interest in Massachusetts alone—Salem, Sturbridge, Lexington, Concord, and Plymouth. With its varied landscapes and four distinct seasons, New England offers unlimited possibilities for recreation—skiing, mountain climbing, hiking, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, and camping.